Hands up, who finds it easier to understand what they're going through when you've been diagnosed with something? That sweet relief of being able to put a name to your particular struggles and instantly start searching the internet to find solace in the similar experience of others. We've all been there, but what if that diagnosis turns into definition?
In June 2015 when the doctor first told me I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome I felt like my world was collapsing around me. I had no idea what it meant for me and my future. I was haunted by the word 'syndrome' and it left me feeling very lost and confused. Luckily I found a great community on Instagram and immediately became addicted to scouring PCOS hashtags and feeding on other women's experiences. Suddenly I wasn't alone! I found myself amongst a sea of women across the world and I felt at ease.
As my wealth of knowledge expanded, so did my obsession. I became convinced that I was yet to experience a multitude of symptoms that I was discovering and so I got stuck into learning about what foods to avoid, what foods would help my body, which exercises were best, when to do them, how to do them, etc, etc. Then came the guilt. If I missed a workout or ate the 'wrong' type of food I would blame every painful negative pregnancy test on my bad judgement. This guilt weighed heavily on my shoulders and it started to distort my view of my marriage and my self worth as a woman. It honestly felt to me, and don't get me wrong I still do feel this way sometimes, that I will never be able to have children.
That's a big statement to make.
Back in October I started having some counselling sessions. I am very proud of myself for being able to see that I needed an outlet such as this in my life and I really can't speak highly enough of the experience. It's opened my eyes up to myself and my surroundings. Currently on my Instagram feed I have lost count of how many women with PCOS or other fertility related issues have fallen pregnant. Yes sometimes it's hard to see pregnancy announcements, but these are all women who at some point would have felt exactly how I feel and to see that they have beaten the odds gives me great hope that someday I will too!
The New Year also brings hoards of newly diagnosed women to seek solace in social media and I welcome them with open arms. I remember feeling how they felt and I can see a similarity in their posts to mine back when I was first diagnosed. We are each on our own journey and need to go through this experience to gain a better understanding of the cards we've been dealt. That's perfectly ok, but don't let this become you. There is no right or wrong, we are all individuals and likely to experience something very different to the woman next in line. PCOS can be a struggle, but PCOS is not me… I am me.
xx Gem xx